21 Nov Learning to Take Recovery One Step at a Time
Once you have completed the initial hard work of recovery, being sober can be exhilarating. When leaving recovery, you may be tempted to jump back into the excitement of life and doing everything you wish immediately. This point of recovery is a great accomplishment, however when a craving hits or you have a really difficult day things can become hard to manage again. Sober living can help you learn to walk again before trying to run by supporting you as you transition from treatment back to real life and help you take recovery one step at a time.
Where Do You Go From Here?
For most people, residential treatment for addiction lasts about 30 days. During this time, you work to detox your mind and body and undergo intensive therapy, gaining education on your addiction. This gateway to sobriety is a time full of significant life changes and can be emotionally draining for many people. While recovery is full of challenges, most individuals will reach a point where they feel better in their sobriety than they ever did with their addiction. Reaching this state can help you to move forward and set up a successful life for yourself.
Even if you feel great after your treatment, recovery is a life-long process. No matter what your situation is, life is full of both negative and positive aspect that simultaneously circulate. When challenges arise, your sobriety will be tested. This is more true in early recovery, as you are still learning to adapt to your lifestyle out of treatment and your body and mind are adjusting to your new normal. Continuing to expand your education and support after your initial treatment can help you to manage this transition and set yourself up for success.
Importance of Aftercare
Residential treatment is a major step in your recovery process, but it is only the first step. Each day, you must wake up and recommit to your recovery, keeping yourself committed to the life-long process. Getting through the transition recovery is your next step, with convincing evidence that continuing support through aftercare can help you sustain your sobriety after leaving residential treatment. In particular, those who seek aftercare in a sober living environment show increased retention in their knowledge gained through treatment programs and success in their recovery.
A child learning to walk does not just stand up and try to walk on their own. They receive support by leaning on furniture or holding onto the hands of trusted adults who can help them. They may fall down a few times before succeeding, but it is all a part of the learning process. This concept is similar to the support that aftercare can provide in your recovery. If your initial residential treatment taught you to stand on your feet and maintain sobriety, continuing care can offer support as you learn to walk further down the path of success.
Walk, Don’t Run
Instead of trying to go straight from treatment back into your everyday life on your own, enrolling in an aftercare program may be the right step. Through sober living homes or our clinical outpatient program, you can transition more successfully into recovery outside of the residential program. Just as addiction typically takes time to develop, recovering from addiction takes time. Your mind and body need a minimum 30 days to adjust to new habits and a new lifestyle. The support you receive in aftercare can help you make this transition, much like learning to walk again before trying to run in your recovery.
Referring back to our example of a child learning to walk, if the child immediately tried to run, they would consistently fail time after time. Walking is a transitionary step in order to understand how to run. Transitioning out of recovery works the same way. Don’t spirit to the finish life when you have just learned how to stand.
Participating in an aftercare program such as sober living will allow you the necessary time to reinforce and build upon the skills you have learned in treatment. Sober living provides a stable and supportive environment to live in as you work toward independence in your recovery.
The skills you gain in sober living are multi-faceted, meaning you will continue to gain skills for your recovery toolkit to prevent relapse, improve communication, and heal from trauma. You will also gain valuable tools for living independently, ranging from cooking and maintaining your living environment to personal relationship building and skills to support your employment.
The Value of Support Through Each Step
Ideally, through each step of your recovery journey, you will become more independent and less reliant on educational services, therapy, and support. These elements should always be a part of your recovery in some form, but will not be as essential as time goes on. Even if your need for them diminishes over time, it is still calming to know that you always have that support system behind you.
Your first step involves the most intensive, around the clock support. As you move to an aftercare program, it is still important to have support available whenever you need it. When you transition out of aftercare, you will still want to have a support network, a therapist, and attend support meetings regularly to help you get through the tough moments. This natural progression of gradually increasing independence with your sobriety maintenance demonstrates the importance of taking your recovery one step at a time.